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Subject: ARCHIVE: July 7, 1929 ~Here is the story of little-known American folk figure teen Charlie Henry Rich, who dealt lawman Wild Bill Hickcok his infamous last poker hand, moments before Bill was shot in the back, dead. The card hand -the ace and 8 of clubs with the jack of diamond- is forever after known as "dead man's hand". Rich died 50+ years later at age 68. ...

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Date Posted: Saturday, July 07, 05:47:42pm


Evergreen Cemetery marker reclaimed by descendant. ...

The Cincinnati Enquirer

MIAMI TOWNSHIP — In a five-card slice of local history, officials here believe they might be holding the losing hand.

Wild West legend Charlie Rich, who is buried at Evergreen Cemetery in this Clermont County community, dealt the fateful “Dead Man's Hand” to Wild Bill Hickok moments before Mr. Hickok was shot in the back in a Dakota Territory saloon in 1876.

A black marble monument marking Mr. Rich's grave site was removed last year by a Rich grandson, Gordon Bourgeois of the Columbus area, who commissioned it in 1989. Mr. Bourgeois took it to Columbus Art Memorial Inc., to carve into it the famous scene from the No. 10 Saloon in Deadwood.

The artwork was supposed to take six months to complete. The 6-foot-high monument hasn't been seen here since.

For Mr. Hickok, the Dead Man's Hand was the ace and eight of spades, the ace and eight of clubs and the jack of diamonds. For the township, it is a letter in which Mr. Bourgeois indicates he intends to keep the monument.

“It was neat to have the stone there and the history,” township Service Director Walt Fischer said Thursday, “but it's the family's decision.”

Apparently, the family is split over the future of the stone, but Mr. Bourgeois, who did not return a phone call Thursday from the Enquirer, has the legal right to keep it, Mr. Fischer said.

He said he hopes a new stone will replace the monument.

Mr. Rich was born in the Lebanon area in 1856 and was buried at Evergreen in 1929. Where the monument stood for nearly a decade is now only a concrete slab, or “footing.”

It was Mr. Bourgeois who, with relatives' help, located the Wild West legend's unmarked grave in the Miamiville cemetery off Ohio 126. The Ohio Historical Society registered a historic marker there.

The famous Dead Man's Hand is fanned out on the front of the monu ment, but Mr. Bourgeois wanted the back adorned with the famous scene.

It was a bumpy ride for his grandfather, A. Charles Henry Rich, from Greater Cincinnati to the Wild West, then a fairly lawless tangle of pioneers, outlaws and get-rich-quick prospectors. Like many others, Mr. Rich went as a teen to find gold.

He found his way by wagon train to Deadwood, where he got work as a card dealer and came to know many West legends, including Mr. Hickok, Calamity Jane and Buffalo Bill Cody. On Aug. 2, 1876, Mr. Hickok, who typically insisted on sitting with his back to a wall, sat down at Mr. Rich's table. But Mr. Rich already had his back to the wall and refused to trade places. Mr. Hickok acquiesced.

Mr. Rich dealt him the famous hand and moments later, Jack McCall — one of Mr. Hickok's many enemies — walked through the saloon door and saw Mr. Hickok. He fired once, hitting Mr. Hickok in the back.

According to family legend, Mr. Rich never dealt another hand. He made his way back to Ohio three years later, got married in Indiana and landed a railroad job.

He died in Columbus and his body was brought to Miami Township for burial. Several descendants still live locally. Now, a piece of his legacy is back in Columbus — possibly to stay.

PHOTOS of impressive marker …

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